By Ahmed Dio Agbo
Livestock population especially in the northern part of the country may suffer water stress and outbreak of heat-related diseases this year, particularly in the early months due to the expected warmer-than-normal conditions predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) in the 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP).
The new Director-General (DG) of NiMet, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi, said the expected heat stress is likely to persist throughout the year.
Prof. Mashi advised farmers to arrange for alternative sources of water for their livestock during the period.
“The relevant authorities should also encourage farmers to adopt international best practices in animal husbandry through provision of ranches and fodder for livestock as well as ensuring controlled grazing of animals to reduce clashes among farm owners and herdsmen,” the DG noted.
He, however, pointed out that this year, herders may be able to take to grazing in the northern part of the country and may have feed available for longer time due to higher than normal rains.
It was also predicted that “food production is expected to be less than normal due to shorter growing season length over large parts of the country.”
Crop farmers across the country, especially in the north, were advised to plant early maturing and drought resistant varieties to avoid the dangers of the predicted longer days of dry spells.
The Special Adviser to Katsina State Governor on Agriculture, Dr. Abba Y. Yakubu, advised farmers, state governments and other stakeholders to heed the veritable scientific predictions of NiMet to ensure food security in the nation.